Imagine, if you will, that you have been summoned for jury duty. You know as a good citizen that it is an honor to serve the justice system. It is an important part of your life as a law-abiding citizen of the country. You show up on time and ready to be an impartial juror. After you are seated on the jury, you learn to your shock and utter disgust that another member of the jury has already made up his mind. Worse than that, he is engaged in convincing other members of the jury to vote for acquittal. The trial has not yet started.
As you are preparing for the trial you learn that this ring leader of injustice has also been coordinating efforts with the defendant! He is working to keep the trial short by not allowing witnesses on either side. For some strange reason, it is this juror and his colleagues who set the rules for the trial, not the judge. Opening arguments are followed by closing arguments. Since no evidence is presented, it is hard to say if there is guilt or not. The arguments by the prosecutor have certainly made it seem like the defendant is guilty, but who can tell? No evidence was allowed.
Those lined up to vote for acquittal before the trial did so without paying attention to the charges. The defendant claimed victory and set out on a course of retaliation against those who spoke against him. “This is outrageous!” you might think. “Nothing like this could happen in our country. Such a travesty could not take place.” The problem is this. It did happen.
Violating the Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you, God?”
Not only were Senators asked to take this oath by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but they were also called up one at a time to sign the document of such oath. This means that many Republican Senators went to the floor of the Senate and swore before God to do something they had no intention of doing. They lied to the Chief Justice right there in their chamber of Congress. Everyone in the country who was paying attention knows they lied.
No matter what side of the aisle you sit, you can’t deny these Republicans are liars before God. They swore to God that they would be impartial when they had promised for weeks to vote for acquittal and not allow any evidence. If you do not paint these people as liars and hypocrites, what else could you call them? In a normal world, if you violated an oath like this you would find yourself in jail.
In early December, long before the trial, Senator Mitch McConnell promised in a FOX News interview that there was no chance of removal from office and that he would have “total coordination” with the White House and the President’s lawyers. As he had taken sides before the Articles of Impeachment (aka indictment) were presented, did the Senator then recuse himself? No. Instead, he planned to lie before God and falsely sign a document before the Chief Justice.
Cheating the Country
“If my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider witnesses and documents in the trial, what will the president conclude? We all know: he’ll conclude he can do it again, and congress can do nothing about it. He can try to cheat in his election again, something that eats at the roots of our democracy.”
Senator Chuck Schumer stated this belief in advance of acquittal. If a majority of Senators will protect a lawbreaker, can there be any justice at all? They have announced through their actions that they do not care about their oath and they do not care about justice. Is the president now free to act like a dictator and violate any laws he chooses? The Senate majority has already proven they will protect him.
Following the end of the Senate trial, the president has gone after the whistleblowers in violation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act already in place. And who is to stop him?
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, fired! Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, not a part of impeachment, fired for being the brother of Alexander Vindman. Ambassador Gordon Sondland also fired. There will be more to come.
And all the others who didn’t agree with him who went before. This tyrant doesn’t allow disagreement. No discussion, no reasoning.
Where’s the Outrage?
To counterbalance the outrage of many news outlets around the country are the efforts of one prominent news network and other smaller outlets. Some consider this no better than state-run television, spinning a tale much different than what virtually every newspaper and broadcast opinion board and commentators are saying. With the announcement of the intention to lie to the Chief Justice of the United States, U.S. Senators have told you that they and their cult-leader-in-chief can break the law if they feel like it.
I have forbidden television viewing today. It’s the Republican opportunity to deny everything and I don’t think I can handle it. Worse, this might be the broadcast that finally makes Garry kick the TV until it shatters. Since we need to fix a broken toilet and the floor under it, we can’t afford a new TV so we’ll have to hang onto this one. This part of the impeachment will have to wait for the evening news roundups and late-night comedies.
Watching it will make us crazy.
Trump has only been in office for three years, but it feels like at least twenty. Maybe more. It isn’t only what he has done. It’s what he has tried to do, his twisting of reality and constant blatant lies. He has been the first president in my lifetime to make me wonder whether this country has a soul, conscience, or any aspirations other than the gathering of money and “things.”
Someone — and I really have no idea who — said that no one goes to their grave wishing they’d spent more time at the office. It goes hand-in-hand with all the wealthy people who have the money to buy everything they ever wanted yet feel as if there’s a big, empty hole in the middle of their life. They are lonely, bored, and feel unloved. They (who ARE they?) actually did a survey on this which has been on the national news for the past few nights. The rich don’t have friends. Making money hasn’t been nearly as satisfying as it was supposed to be. No amount of publicity, plastic surgery, or fashionable clothing fills that hole.
I have come to believe “The American Dream” is just a soft-focus, rose-colored version of greed for all.
With all the issues we have got, I am not lonely. I wish we had more in-person time with friends, but as we have grown older, so have they. Our contemporaries mostly don’t like long drives anymore. Distances that weren’t a big deal even five years ago seem much longer now.
I always hoped we’d somehow find a way to stick together, but life has taken us in the opposite direction. Retirement to warmer climates and/or moving to wherever our kids and grandchildren live has spread us all over the map. There have also been too many deaths.
With all that, I’m pretty sure that if I died tomorrow, there would be at least a dozen people at the wake who cared about me. It wouldn’t be a crowd of people with whom I “did business,” but people I knew, talked to, and loved.
This nightmare through which we are passing has not only caused individual personal fear but has breached many friendships and family relationships.
Where we used to disagree and were willing to “agree to disagree,” we can’t seem to do that today. I don’t think I had a lot of Republican friends, but maybe I did. I never checked anyone to make sure they agreed with me politically. We didn’t talk about politics all the time. You were allowed to believe privately and in peace.
There is so much anger, frustration, confusion, and hatred everywhere. You can feel it prickling your skin. If we don’t manage to get Trump and his trashy pals out of office, the future looks grim and frightening.
Worse, I’m ashamed of being white, and ashamed of my nation, and seriously wondering if we will ever find our way back from this mess. I never thought it could come to this.
This week I was asked by a professional contact in the history community to add my name to this statement, called the Historians’ Statement on the Impeachment of President Trump. It was an easy call for me to do so. But, as has become evident over the last few days, this statement was much more than just another “online petition.” The historians who have signed this statement, now more than 2,000 of them, have had a measurable impact on the events that occurred in Washington, D.C. this week. Indeed, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi referenced the statement in her floor speech beginning debate on the impeachment of Trump. As you know, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him. We historians have joined numerous other professionals whose expertise is relevant to the impeachment process, such as Constitutional legal scholars and public prosecutors, in stating that impeachment is warranted under the standards of the Constitution.
Some of the historians I joined in signing include Ken Burns (documentary historian), Robert Caro (biographer of LBJ), Ron Chernow (author of the biography of Alexander Hamilton that was the basis of the Broadway musical), John Fea (fellow history podcaster and author of the wonderful Way of Improvement Leads Home blog), Alan Taylor (Pulitzer Prize-winning historian), Matthew Dennis (my former academic advisor), and many, many more.
While the statement speaks for itself, I thought I would add a few words to explain why I signed it.
I marched in favor of women’s rights and solidarity on the day after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017. That action was political. My signing of the Historians’ Statement goes beyond politics.
Reason one: Trump’s actions are unquestionably impeachable.
The Constitution’s standard for impeachment is deliberately vague: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The fact that it’s vague doesn’t mean it’s always difficult to tell when the standard has been reached. The impeachment inquiry has proven beyond all doubt that Trump committed bribery by conditioning aid to the government of Ukraine on their investigation of the Biden family. That’s bribery. As for other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” it seems difficult to argue that this standard hasn’t been reached either. If we could go back in time to the stuffy room in Philadelphia where the Founders met in the summer of 1787 to create the Constitution and give them the example of Trump’s actions, it’s abundantly clear that they would agree, probably to a man, that this is the kind of behavior they had in mind when they wrote the impeachment clause. The evidence is uncontroverted. I say that both as a historian and as a lawyer.
Reason two: The Constitution and its processes must be protected.
America was created with the notion that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Flawed, yes; imperfect, yes; subject to change in interpretation by future generations who are entrusted with it, certainly. But some things about it are absolute. If the Constitution’s standard for a President’s removal from office is reached, not taking the Constitutionally-required action to set that process in motion does violence to the primacy of the Constitution and its principles. Letting Trump’s unconscionable behavior slide, giving it a pass, is itself an affront to the Constitution and everything it stands for.
The action of impeachment entails considerable political risk. While it’s true that I voted for the other lady (you know, the one who got more votes than Trump did), I’m certainly not happy with the idea that, if Trump were to be convicted, his successor would be Mike Pence, a man whose bedrock principle is that I, as a member of the LGBT community, do not deserve basic human and civil rights, and once in office he’ll likely mobilize the power of the government to strip me of those rights–because he’s done it before. But that’s a political calculation. The risk to the Constitution in turning a blind eye to Trump’s crimes transcends politics, and it should. That’s what the primacy of the Constitution means.
The men who met in this room in the summer of 1787 believed they were serving principles larger than themselves. I think we have to honor that commitment, however imperfect the Constitution was (and still is).
Reason three: Trump must be taught that his wrong actions have consequences.
Reason four: Historical precedent shows impeachment has the effect of reining in a wayward President’s actions.
If you look back at the two Presidents who have previously been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, you’ll see that, although neither was removed from office, impeachment had a profound effect on both of them: they took care to stop doing the actions that got them impeached in the first place. Andrew Johnson, in particular, was every bit as pugnacious and defiant about his impeachment as Trump is about his own. Yet, after the impeachment and Senate trial in May 1868, Johnson suddenly went quiet: he stopped trying to interfere with Congress’s power over Reconstruction and he took no significant action for the rest of his term.
Clinton, similarly, toned down his act in his last two years in office. And you can bet that, at long last, for once in his life, he stopped running around with young women and lying about it. Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were/are deeply flawed men who did monstrous things. But impeachment did put brakes on their reckless behavior. Even as defiant and vengeful as Trump is, I seriously doubt he’ll ever call up a head of state and ask them to interfere in our elections again. There’s no telling what other more subtle effects it will have that can serve the public good.
Andrew Johnson was, like Trump, a racist man, a white supremacist, and deeply incompetent at his job as President of the United States. But, his impeachment in 1868 did have an effect on his behavior.
I don’t like to see our Constitutional system tested and tarnished by the actions of President Trump. Our government has many important things that it could be doing right now, like taking immediate and drastic action on climate change. But the Constitution must be protected, and sometimes its enemies are within the walls rather than without.
I stand by the Historians’ statement. I only hope it’s not too late for our republic to be saved from the damage being done to it by self-serving people like Donald J. Trump.
All images in this article were either taken by me or are in the public domain.
As much as you may view this as politics, it is also education. Impeachment is a complicated business with a single motive: to protect the American Constitution.
I can see all the sides of this impeachment. I understand why Nancy Pelosi wanted to wait and I can see why she changed her mind. I agree with the three scholars who feel that if Trump doesn’t warrant an impeachment, no one does. On the other hand, I also completely understood the one who felt we needed to give the people time to absorb the data and get on board.
I also understand that since the President’s office has categorically refused to provide any of the documents or testimony required by subpoenas, is there any value in waiting when — even if the Supreme Court nods in the Democrat’s direction — it does not necessarily mean the President or his coterie of evil-doers will comply. It would not be the first time an American President refused to obey an order from the Supreme Court.
So what are we to do? If it were possible — if the election weren’t so close — I would slow it down and allow more Americans to understand why impeachment is critically important to us.
Is it possible to slow it down? I don’t think so. But I don’t have answers. Just many more questions.
The Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach and remove “the President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States” upon a determination that such officers have engaged in treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The last word in this sentence is very important in today’s political world.
Without doubt, Donald J. Trump and members of his entire crew aboard and piloting his Ship of Vipers have amassed enough misdemeanors by their refusal to abide by the numerous subpoenas they are ignoring at his order.
The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct by officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, refusal to obey a lawful order, chronic intoxication, and tax evasion. Tax evasion is a key phrase here and the reason Trump is fighting so fiercely to prevent the House or anyone else from accessing his returns.
The Constitution does not define bribery. It is a crime that has long existed in English and American common law. It takes place when a person gives official money or gifts to influence the official’s behavior in office. For example, if defendant Smith pays federal Judge Jones $10,000 to find Smith not guilty, the crime of bribery has occurred. It seems to fit Trump to a T. Only this time, he withheld money from Ukraine for a political favor against his political opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, and son Hunter.
It should be remembered that the impeachment process is political, not criminal.
According to the rules of impeachment:
The House Judiciary Committee holds hearings and, if necessary, prepares articles of impeachment. These are the charges against the official.
If a majority of the committee votes to approve the articles, the whole House debates and votes on them.
If a majority of the House votes to impeach the official on any article, the official must then stand trial in the Senate.
For the official to be removed from office, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict the official. Upon conviction, the official is automatically removed from office and, if the Senate so decides, may be forbidden from holding governmental office again.
Rule 3 doesn’t give Mitch McConnell or Lindsey Graham — or anyone else the right to block the impeachment.
The oath used today has not changed since 1966 and is prescribed in Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code. It reads:
“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
In contrast to the presidential oath, where it’s used only by tradition, the phrase “so help me God” has been part of the official oath of office for non-presidential offices since 1862.
Each and every one of them swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
When the subject of an oath arose during the Federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, the founders were divided. Should an oath be required in a free country at all? And should state officials swear allegiance to the federal Constitution, or should federal officials swear to uphold state constitutions as well as the U.S. Constitution?
According to the History, Art And Archives web page of the House of Representatives: “Delegate James Wilson of Pennsylvania viewed oaths as ‘left-handed security only’ and that ‘a good government did not need them and a bad one could not or ought not to be supported.’ The lexicographer and political writer Noah Webster called oaths ‘instruments of slavery’ and a ‘badge of folly, borrowed from the dark ages of bigotry.’ Both Wilson and Webster argued that people would be naturally inclined to support just governments, so oaths were unnecessary. Many others thought such concerns were overwrought. In his 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote that requiring oaths for government officials ‘would seem to be a proposition too clear to render any reasoning necessary in support of it.’”
The web page continues: “The current practice for swearing-in Members is an innovation of Speaker Nicholas Longworth of Ohio, who abandoned the practice of Members taking the oath by state delegations in 1929. Longworth altered the practice because he hoped the mass swearing-in would better ‘comport with the dignity and solemnity’ of the ceremony and, according to some historical accounts, to avoid a potential attempt to challenge the seating of Oscar De Priest of Illinois, the first African- American elected to Congress in the 20th century.
“While subsequent Speakers went back to the original method, in 1937 Speaker William B. Bankhead chose to return to the en masse swearing-in and this has remained the practice. Since the 80th Congress (1947–1949), Members have also been required to sign an oath, which is held by the Clerk of the House.”
During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison of Virginia successfully argued that an election every four years did not provide enough of a check on a president who was incapacitated or abusing the power of the office. He contended that “loss of capacity or corruption . . . might be fatal to the republic” if the president could not be removed until the next election.
This is an excellent defense to the oft used mantra of “let the voters decide.” George Mason of Virginia proposed adding “maladministration.” He thought treason and bribery did not cover all the harm a president might do.
As we can sadly see, Mason’s fears were well-founded.
If the Founding Fathers could see how our entire governmental process has been stolen by the Republican Party, they would likely suffer apoplexy.
Likely if the Democrats were the target of impeachment charges, they would vote party line to quash the impeachment. It’s how every presidential impeachment attempt has ended.
In a perfect, ethical and moral political world one can only dream that the Democratic Party would stand erect and purge their embarrassment. Obviously, the TrumplicanParty will cling to their crooked, vile captain and vote nay. Like Captain Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny,” Donald Trump, Captain of his Ship of Vipers, sits and juggles his marbles — as it were.
Check out the original on The Shinbone Star. They have written some brilliant material that can answer a lot of questions. No, they are not a neutral voice, but they are also right.
I admit it. By the end of about six hours of impeachment testimony, I knew I’d never survive the Democratic debate. Also, Garry said he’d leave home if I didn’t change the channel — which I was intending to do anyway — but he supplied the final push. I just handed him the remote and said: “Go at it!”
I’m pretty sure that even the anchors were exhausted by then. There’s only so much bombshell testimony (Was it bombshell testimony? I no longer know what that means) anybody can take. And I missed the beginning — what I gather was the really hot testimony, but they talked about it constantly, so I really didn’t miss anything.
But now, it was post-dinner and the idea of watching however many people are running for president on the Democratic ticket snipe at each other was over the top. I need a very long night’s sleep before I reconnect.
And since they delayed the debate, bet we’ll catch the last hour of it anyway.
I do not know how anyone remembers anything on these shows. I can’t even remember the names of the senators or testifiers. Moreover, when someone is going to drop a bombshell, that is when I have to go to the bathroom.
I have to admit that we are hooked. We are both news junkies and though Garry tried denying it, one day he just broke down and it’s been news ever since. He is particularly incensed at the way the press is getting beat up.
The news was his life. This isn’t casual chatter to him. He has three Emmy’s and dozens of other awards for his work in the business. To Garry, this is personal. Very. Personal.
So, that’s what we are doing. We are watching. The last time I was this enthralled politically was Watergate. I was working as a writer and editor at Doubleday Publishing in New York. I carried a little radio and earplug with me so I wouldn’t miss a moment of testimony. Then, when I got home, on went the television.
I was thrilled when Nixon resigned, but I missed the hearings. It was as if they had canceled a favorite drama.
I think this is probably what I’m going to be doing as long as these hearings last. I thought we were the rare Americans watching this, but these hearings are getting huge ratings. Apparently, everyone is glued to their televisions.
Things that have gotten to me: McCaine’s daughter saying how deeply shocked and horrified she is by the spineless Republican party and how ashamed she is of people she believed were family friends … interviews on the street and on the late-night comedy shows of people who were Republicans and now say they don’t even understand what has happened to their party and how humiliating it is.
I’ve never been a Republican, but I never thought that being a Republican meant being a traitor. We disagreed, sometimes angrily, sometimes with humor, but they were Americans. They believed in this country as I did, but their ideas of how to manage this country were different.
Now, they don’t even act like Americans. They don’t care about the American people. They have lost touch with what has made this country great. Now it’s entirely about money and greed.
Shame on them, and shame on anyone who voted for them. They are everything we have deplored through our years on this earth.
Aside from having a bloated moron as our president, this is the most shocking part of this entire process. That all these supposed honorable men have become spineless jellyfish, unwilling to stand up to this idiot president or their own beliefs, is nauseating.
Marilyn asked me to write a piece. This as I was swapping comments with others on Facebook as we watched today’s Impeachment Hearings and the comments that followed. I internally blanched but said, “Yes, dear.” I quickly dashed out this first paragraph. Time out. Nature was calling.
(Insert commercial here)
Okay, I’m back. Nature’s call answered. Showered, shaved and CNN is on with the evening recap of today’s Impeachment hearing. Maybe I missed some important stuff while attending my own business. Throne room biz gets top priority here.
It seems there is hard evidence of the call that never was — or that PERFECT phoner without any quid pro quo. Donzo’s disciples are in spin overdrive while Democrats are like Felix the cat who nabbed a feline whistleblower.
Do we take time out for the weekend? Maybe watch some college and pro football? Or do we put the Impeachment on hold? Will the hearings keep us in a mental brain lock until they resume, presumably on Monday?
Rest assured, the weekend talk shows, especially the Sunday Pol Staple Shows, will review and regurgitate everything we’ve seen and heard during the past few days. Was it good for you? Didn’t Wolf Blitzer look like he was barely able to keep from grinning?
These are good days for Facebook, the social media giant dealing with well-earned criticism for its many breaches of privacy.
Facebook’s cyber party line is perfect for many folks who are sharing their reactions, opinions, and emotional takes on the impeachment hearings. The comments and responses to comments are clearly partisan.
I think it’s a healthy way to unload your exhilaration, anger, and frustration over the mulligan’s stew of interrogation and testimony. Yelling at the television doesn’t get the reactions we need.
I can’t be the only one shouting profanities at some of Donzo’s coat-holding Pols who are insulting and demeaning witnesses testifying about the existence of the phone call and the hinky business surrounding what he said he said. Today, we heard first-hand testimony of Donzo’s call to his Ukraine liaisons. It was a call taken in a restaurant and clearly heard by a myriad of people. Probably including the Russians who are very good at snooping in Ukraine, not to mention right here in the good ole’ U.S.A.
How loud WAS he talking? Did they put the call on speaker? We wouldn’t want the waiters or busboys to miss anything. Tune in tomorrow for further updates, revelations, and the throbbing excitement of our democracy falling apart while the world watches with a mixture of dismay and glee.
Look across the river, Lennie. See the rabbits, Lennie? I get all sentimental remembering the glory days of Watergate.
Speaking of the Tricky One, they’ve been constantly running an audio clip of Milhouse’s rant on the media, “…and, ya know, there’s not a good one of them on all three of the damn Networks.”
Donzo can smile because he has more than three networks “harassing” him. He has more media dissidents than any President in U.S. history. Even more than George Washington, a president who could tell you something about political detractors. He didn’t take a third term in office because he could not tolerate more press attacks — and that was long before mass media.
Donzo has gone from being a star on “The Apprentice” to being a living legend in his own mind. He is the man waiting to be carved onto Mt. Rushmore and the man who claims he shot Liberty Valance. Now, finally, he’s the guy with the highest TV ratings in town. It’s the brightest spot on his resume.
OK, I have to be honest. I didn’t write this. I wish I did. I found it in the comments section of some article I was reading. I don’t remember the article, I read so many. But I loved this. It was posted by someone called “Zoltan Kamarchuk.” If he wrote it, kudos to him. If he didn’t, I’m glad he posted it.
I’m currently watching the impeachment hearings against Boss Tweet and thought it would be a good time to share this.
Twas the night ‘fore impeachment and all through the House
The only thing stirring was Lindsey the Louse.
He placed flowers and notepads in the Chamber with care
and hoped that gosh darn it, the trial would be fair.
McConnell was nestled all smug in his head
With dreams of dismissal and more states turned red
While Trump in his bathrobe hands Melania a box
And then settles in for nine hours of FOX.
When suddenly Grisham burst in on the scene
Startling LIndsey, who he thought quite mean.
Her hands were both shaking, she was white as a sheet
As she held in her hand you-know-who’s latest tweet.
” The trial is a hoax. There was no collusion”
Forget what you saw, it was all an illusion.
The whole things a witch hunt, there’s nothing to find,
That Nancy Pelosi is out of her mind.
Graham jumped into action, he had to be quick
To show his support and not miss a trick
He speed-dialed the number, the signal was sent
But with caller ID, off to voicemail, it went.
Going back to his office, he happened to see
CNN down the hall and decided to flee.
But he wanted to look, so he quickly turned ’round.
And there was Jim Jordan, a publicity hound.
As soon as the camera had half caught his eye,
Jordan tore off his jacket and loosened his tie.
He carefully answered each question he got
With some previous talking point, he had been taught.
The fault wasn’t Donald’s, he said with a sniff
It was Biden and Clinton, Pelosi and Schiff.
The President hasn’t done anything wrong.
He stood up to China. Made America strong.
He gave trillions to farmers and that isn’t all.
He built everyone an un-climb-able wall.
But no moat filled with gators, piranhas or snakes.
That would have stopped ’em. Oh well, them’s the breaks.
Ivanka and Jared were at the train station.
Having both felt the need for a sudden vacation.
They wanted to leave without rocking the boat,
but to stay in the will, they did each leave a note.
Jared’s was quiet, Ivanka’s was sweet.
Donald Junior decided to just send a tweet.
Tiff was in Europe but she had to stay on.
Eric did send a card…that was written in crayon.
Again, to who ever wrote this, well done.
And to all a good night.
Prudent seems like a very strange word these days. Here we are — Garry and I — and the impeachment hearings are on the TV and we’re having little conversations about how people feel about this. I gathered, but last night’s “comedy” television that these hearings are getting gigantic ratings. Garry said he was sure that Trump would be very proud of this and I thought that was pretty funny.
I guess he moves on with his life in which I think he still wants another television show of his own (like who does he think would hire him?) explaining that he had the highest-rated television show of 2019. But if he’s not the President, I don’t think he’s going to get such great ratings.
I also learned last night that he was worried that naked pictures of him (Trump) would surface. Naked pictures of DJT? And the man who is our “president” is worried about naked pictures of his big fat self?
No, no, no.
I can barely stand to see whats-his-face fully clothed. The idea of all that blubber naked is beyond me on every level.
Prudent? Careful? Working within limits? Honest?
Sometimes these guys go on for five minutes and I look at Garry and say “Was there a question in there?” We have our own version of “Law and Order” going on here.
I don’t know how the reporters understand what’s being asked and answered. Do they?
One thing I learned back in my college days* was if your enemies are walking into an L-shaped ambush, let them walk all the way into the kill zone before firing. They then have two choices: run and die, or stand and die.
The Trump Administration is running headlong into an L shaped ambush formed by the Democrat-led House of Representatives and public opinion, and it is done.
Donald Trump can stonewall, whine, accuse, demand, plead, and threaten … and then what? Only his truly hard-core cult members refuse to see that this guy isn’t fit for the office. He could light himself afire before he is impeached and those people would cheer him for owning the libs.
The MAGA folks love it when Trump does some nasty shit that owns the libs, but when they see him sell out our Kurdish “allies” to our Turkish allies, those folks have to wonder in which of these allied camps do they stand. If they have half a brain they’ll finally realize they ain’t in the Right camp because they ain’t J.P. Gotrocks and they’re right there with the rest of the people Trump considers to be losers. Unfortunately, most of his non-wealthy supporters aren’t that smart.
It was inevitable that America would end up in this situation because white America selected a stupid and venal asshole (whose only accomplishment in life was being born rich) to replace Barack Obama, who is the embodiment of the American Dream … except he is black.
Trump is the poor man’s idea of what wealth looks like and the loser’s view of winning. And he isn’t black.
Trump has bullied, bought and bankrupted his way through life, but for the first time ever, his modus operandi isn’t gonna work and he is panicked. You know the shit is deep by how excruciatingly stupid are the excuses from the few remaining GOP sycophants unashamed to lie in public.
In a September 23, 2016 article for The Atlantic, Salena Zito wrote:
“It’s a familiar split. When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”
Peter Thiel, tech billionaire and Trump supporter said in October 2016:
“I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. . . . I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally . . . their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ . . . What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.”
Last week Jim Jordan said Trump was joking when he asked China to investigate the Biden boys. “You really thank he was serious?” During the 2016 campaign we were told to take Trump seriously but not literally. Now we’re being told not to take him seriously … he’s a bad joke … got it?
Stick a fork in this bastard, he’s done. This “strategy” of putting his fingers in his ears and yelling incoherent bullshit while his sycophants stonewall in court with stupid process arguments is coming to a close. One charge in one jurisdiction or another is going to crack the dam and the flood of provable crimes will wash away America’s Trump Error.
The GOP donor class has used him and the complicit Republican Party to squeeze the last petro buck out of the earth. In the process, they have destroyed traditional alliances and caused worldwide chaos. Trump didn’t quite get them everything they wanted (worldwide authoritarian plutocracy) but he got them enough (massive redistribution of wealth upward and a stacked federal judiciary) for now.
The GOP and Trump have hit the point of diminishing returns, and so they are no longer viable. This is going to be Watergate, ABSCAM and Iran-Contra all rolled into one, and the GOP as a party should not survive.
What’s next will be a test of the American people across all demographics for “do we continue on the path the Founders set us upon to create a more perfect union,” or “will we take the road towards Steve Bannon’s vision of a Fourth Reich?”
I’m betting on the USA.
* BTW, I never served, was never an official member of ROTC but I am a proud member of the National Honorary Society of Pershing Rifles. Don’t ask me how that happened, but one of my fraternity brothers is Gen. Colin Powell.
(Note from Marilyn on Colin Powell: He grew up just a few blocks from me and we went to the same elementary school!)
I became a news junky around the time that Donald Trump began his campaign for President in 2015 because I felt he was an existential threat to our government and to our society. I didn’t know the half of it! My most catastrophic fantasies of a Trump-led America didn’t hold a candle to the reality we have been living in since his election.
Along with a big chunk of the population, I hung on every word that came out of the Mueller investigation. Mueller was going to be the savior of the Democrats, and other sane, moral people in the country and I shared the deflation and depression of this group when the Mueller Report failed to be the downfall of Trump, as we had hoped.
Trump’s poll numbers went down, but not by much and the slavish devotion of over 80% of Republicans remained intact. After two years of toxic revelations about Trump and his corrupt cronies, in addition to multiple indictments of those in his orbit, nothing seemed to change.
Miraculously, in September 2019, the smoking gun we had dreamed about from Mueller, materialized, out of the blue, thanks to a whistleblower. Trump had asked the President of Ukraine to dig up (or makeup) dirt on Trump’s potential Democratic rival, Joe Biden. The call was documented by transcripts released by the administration. Then Trump admitted it and added to it on national television. What more could you need? But the Republicans harped on the absence of a quid pro quo as the fatal flaw in the argument for impeachment.
Trump and the President of the Ukraine
In fact, the law is quite clear that no quid pro quo is necessary to violate the law. The mere ‘solicitation’ of ‘something of value’ by a President from a foreign government is enough. On top of that, grounds for impeachment don’t even need to include the commission of an actual crime. The interpretation of the phrase ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ has been clarified over the years to mean whatever the Congress decides it means. And abuse of power, as well as obstruction of justice (evident in the Ukrainian scandal) have been used before by Congresses against sitting presidents.
Never mind, as further evidence against Trump came to light, the quid pro quo appeared, clear as day. So we have the evidence necessary for impeachment, by even the most stringent standards.
Now let’s skip ahead to the end of the impeachment process. What are we wishing for? Realistically, the Democrats in the House will probably vote for impeachment. Victory for the good guys! Or is it? What happens then?
Let’s say the House votes to impeach before the end of 2019. It’s remotely possible but highly unlikely that the Republican Senate, led by Trump loyalist Mitch McConnell, will convict and remove Trump from office. So where are we after Trump has been ‘acquitted’ by the Senate?
We have an unhinged, demented and vindictive President who feels he’s been ‘exonerated’ of all wrong doing. He is emboldened because he has survived the worst his enemies can dish out. And he has close to another year in office before the next election! What will he do in that ten-month period without impeachment hanging over his head? I hate to even think about it.
Moving on, let’s say we get our 2020 wish granted and Trump loses the election in 2020. Will he contest the election? And what happens if he does? In the best-case scenario, any election contest will be defeated. Trump is now a lame-duck president who is still in office until January 20, 2021, over two more months.
What will he do during THIS period of impotence and defeat? Who or what will he strike out against?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go ahead with impeachment or fight as hard as possible to vote Trump out of office in 2020. I’m just suggesting that we honestly try to wrap our heads around what the real-world consequences will be if we get what we wish for.
As I write this, I’m watching the Speaker of the House of Representatives formally open an impeachment inquiry into the Twitler-in-Chief.
What did it take? Well, a whistle-blower went through legal channels and brought a complaint about the President that was so bad is caused the Trump-appointed Inspector General to totally freak out. He realizes this was really serious and credible that he did what he is required by law to do. He sent it to the (Acting) Head of the Director of National Intelligence, who’s responsibility BY LAW was to give it to the head of the House Intelligence committee within 7 days. And of course, that’s exactly what he did.
He refused because he went to the Attorney General, who by law has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS. And guess what? The Attorney General created a bullshit ruling by the Office of Legal Counsel that said he didn’t have to do it and the whistleblower can be outed.
Then they showed the complaint to the White House. Which is also REALLYAGAINST THE LAW!! And he won’t release the actual decision made by the OLC. The only reason we know any of this is that the Inspector General was so freaked out that he went to Congress on his own to tell them that something was going on that was seriously fucked up.
The complaint involves a phone call where Herr Trump threatened to withhold money Congress had already given to Ukraine unless they dug up dirt on Joe Biden.
What’s another way to put it?
COLLUDINGWITH A FOREIGN POWER!
To make things worse, he sent out crazy uncle Rudy Giuliani to both deny and then admit that he did exactly that. Then Trump admitted he did it himself! He did this literally the day after Bob Mueller testified in front of Congress and everybody decided he got away with colluding with Russia and obstructing justice.
The Inspector-General told the Congress about this on Constitution Day. Irony is on overdrive. I was working at ABC Radio News during the Watergate hearings.
Here’s the thing. Everybody was against impeachment until they suddenly they were all for it. Maybe we’re seeing the same thing.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this topic. Here’s the original post the last time I did. Sound familiar?
Ever since the Mueller report came out, sort of, the topic on most people’s mind (or at least all the pundits on cable news) is whether or not to start impeachment hearings against the Twittler-in-chief.
In the last few weeks, with the addition of Attorney General William (I’m Trump’s Roy Cohn) Barr it has become clear that this administration has thrown any and all respect for the constitution out the window.
Then they went outside, peed on it, shit on it, let it dry out and peed and shit on it again. They are refusing all subpoenas issued by Congress. They are not allowing anyone to testify in front of any Congressional Committee. Even though many of those people don’t even work for the government anymore. The AG has lied to Congress and then refused to show up for a House Committee hearing because he didn’t want to be questioned by an actual lawyer!
The administration has said to Congress “FUCK YOU!” We don’t care if we’re breaking the law. What are you going to do about it?
Here’s the thing. No administration has ever done this before. Yet another “political norm” bites the dust.
What has become abundantly clear in the last two years is that our government has lasted for over 200 years because the people in it had some sense of civility. Some sense of decency. Some sense of shame. We never realized how much of government relied on everybody “doing the right thing.” We all just did it. It wasn’t written “black letter law.”
Then along came Cheesy McCheese Head.
A man with no civility. No sense of decency. No sense of shame. No regard for “Political Norms.” And as far as anyone can tell, no conscience.
If it isn’t written down as being illegal, fuck you, he’ll do it. And his and the whole Republican Party’s attitude is “even if it is written down, even if it is against the law, fuck you, we don’t care. What are you going to do about it?”
Here’s the most depressing thing. It turns out that Congress may not have much they can do about it. They can issue a subpoena, which in our previous reality was a really big deal. But this administration has just said “Fuck you, we don’t care. What are you going to do about it?”
Turns out they can hold a person who ignores a subpoena with a Contempt of Congress citation. Oh, that’s bad, right? What happens then? Congress sends the contempt citation to the Department of Justice, who then brings the cited individual up on criminal charges.
What if the person under the contempt citation is the HEAD OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT? What does he do?
Nothing. He ignores it. Fuck you. What are you going to do about it?
Congress requests the President’s tax returns be made available under an ironclad lawwritten in the 1920s after the Tea Pot Dome scandals. They were intended to make sure no President or administration can hide corruption.
It was written to leave no wiggle room for a President or member of his cabinet to weasel out of providing those returns. So what does the Secretary of the Treasury, a person who has no right to interfere, do?
You guessed it. He says “Fuck you, I’m not going to allow that to happen. What are you going to do about it?
Theoretically, Congress can take all these issues to court, where they are on solid ground and will probably win. They always have in the past. What the current Supreme Court would do is questionable.
All the lower courts are going to say is, “Are you fucking kidding me? This is illegal as hell. Honor the subpoenas and turn over his friggin’ tax returns.”
Okay, they probably wouldn’t say friggin’. I’m just making a point. I like to speak in the vernacular. Okay, that’s not true either. I just wanted to use vernacular in that sentence.
The problem is, all of that would take a lot of time and we need speed. There is a good chance even if Congress wins, the administration will still say, “Fuck you. We’re not going to do it. What are you going to do about it?”
What can Congress do at this point? They have a thing called “Inherent Contempt” which allows them to actually jail someone they hold in contempt and fine them.
But their “jail” is merely a room in Congress’s basement. The Sargent-at-Arms of the House of Representatives doesn’t have a large force of well-armed troops.
That option is iffy.
So the only thing left that Congress can do is Impeach the mother-fucker. Not my quote, but a quote from a member of the House, the Speaker of the House, and many top Democrats are resisting this.
Their reason? They know the Senate will never convict, so why bother?
Because they have to do something. They simply cannot allow all of this to happen and do absolutely nothing, even if the end result isn’t an actual conviction.
Their reasoning is badly flawed but I understand why they think this way. When the Republicans impeached Clinton the majority of the country didn’t want them to do it. They did it anyway. On their own. On a party-line vote.
The result? The House Republicans impeached. The Senate didn’t convict. They knew the Senate wouldn’t convict when they impeached him. They did it anyway.
When it was all over? Clinton’s approval ratings were in the ’70s.
So what? The Republicans won the next election. Granted the won because the Supreme Court-appointed Bush as President, but regardless, they won.
Why were Clinton’s approval ratings so high? Because the MAJORITY of Americans thought getting impeached because you lied about getting a BJ from a consenting adult was bad, but NOT AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE!
The group MoveOn.orgwas created because most Americans wanted to “Move On” from this silly impeachment bullshit. Back then, I was working for CBS News Up To The Minute news.
Every night, we would air a three-minute piece about how the latest polls showed most Americans didn’t give a crap about Clinton’s affairs. No one wanted more stories about Monica Lewinsky.
The very next piece was inevitably about Monica Lewinsky.
After months of this, one night I asked the line producer if he actually watched the news block he just produced. He replied, “What do you mean?”
I replied, “You just aired the umpteenth poll showing how nobody cares about Monica Lewinsky and the Clinton scandal and your next piece is about Monica Lewinsky.”
His reply? “What’s your point?”
To this day, after 40 years of working in Network News, I still don’t exactly know what a news producer does. Now that I’m retired, I’m not sure I care.
The difference between then and now is simple. Back then, the majority of the country thought to impeach Clinton was silly. He got a blow job.
Thispresident is under 14 CRIMINAL investigations — not counting the Mueller report — which documents at least 10 instances of provable obstruction of justice.
Now he is obstructing Congress daily — in plain sight! The overwhelming victory for the Democrats in 2018 was due to the majority of Americans wanting thisPresident to be reined in.
To be impeached. Speedily. Then sent forth to a place of imprisonment, clapped in irons at least until his political string runs out forever and we know he can’t come back.
It looks bleak. The checks and balances of this country and our Constitution contained some serious hidden flaws. Mainly, the Founding Fathers assumed — and we all know what assumedmeans — that the members of Congress would do their jobs.
Which is checking and balancing and keeping the country on an even keel.
The Republicans are notdoing that. The current administration isn’t following the Constitution. Essentially, they are spitting on it with the result that our system is falling apart.
The reason we are not impeaching is that the House of Representatives know they can’t get a conviction in the Senate. This is totally stupid.
Only two and a half Presidents have been impeached. Nixon only counts as a half because he was never impeached. Congress was going to impeach him, but he quit before they could do it. In the other two cases, Clinton and Lincoln’s Vice President Andrew Johnson were impeached, but neither was convicted, although Johnson came close.
He won by only one vote. And that guy had to be brought into the Senate on a stretcher. He was near death. Nobody’s ever been convicted by the Senate. So that’s not an excuse to not impeach.
Here’s my argument. No, sorry, it’s not my argument. It’s from a far more reputable source than me. Who?
Who’s Otter? I’m talking about Otter, the character from the movie Animal House played by Tim Matheson.
Specifically, the scene where Dean Wormer has closed down Delta House and the whole fraternity was getting thrown out of their frat house. Otter comes into their living room after just having the crap beaten out of him by the bad guy Frat house Omega Theta Pi.
And here Otter gives the speech that drives the rest of the movie. And this speech should drive all of us now.
“Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!”
And there you have it. It appears to be a futile gesture and thus stupid. But this situation absolutely requires a stupid gesture to be done on somebody’s part. We’re the only ones who can do it.
It will most likely fail, but we have to try. Hell, it can be the Democrats campaign slogan. “We Tried to Impeach the Mother Fucker. What Do You Want From Us?”
The only problem is WTTITMFWDYWFU doesn’t fit on a hat.
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